Eye of the Hurricane

April 16, 2011

Canes hold 2011 Spring Game

By DAVID FURONES 

The University of Miami football players received their final opportunity to compete and impress in the 2011 Spring Game on a cloudy, yet humid, Saturday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium. 

The Green team defeated the Orange team 30-17 in the intra-squad scrimmage, but the final score was not what the Miami faithful took away from the game. 

For fans, it was a chance to grasp a lasting impression they will carry into the fall after an offseason that completely remodeled the coaching staff following the forgettable 2010 season. 

Several position battles, highlighted by the duel for the starting quarterback position between senior Jacory Harris and sophomore Stephen Morris, were proven to be highly contested Saturday. 

“I’m just going to keep working,” Harris says, “It’s like anything else in life. You have to compete for everything.” 

“It makes you go hard, makes you work hard in the weight room,” says Morris, “competition only brings good.” 

Offensively, Miami was most effective in the running game, particularly Lamar Miller. Miller utilized his 10 carries to total 166 yards and three touchdowns. In the passing game, Jedd Fisch drew up plenty of check down passes to get his quarterbacks comfortable and mixed in the occasional deep ball.

 The two quarterbacks, who were down wide receivers LaRon Byrd, Aldarius Johnson and Travis Benjamin, compiled decent completion percentages, but reminiscent of last season, did turn the ball over. 

Harris went 18 of 30 for 149 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions while Morris completed 14 of his 22 passes, threw a touchdown pass to Kendal Thompkins and also tossed two picks. 

“I thought the quarterbacks struggled,” says first year graduate student and Hurricane fan Brad Kenin. “They didn’t display good pocket presence.” 

Head coach Al Golden attributed the turnovers of the quarterbacks, who defenders were not allowed to make contact with, to the solid play of the defense. He did not name a starter for the fall.

 “That’s too far in advance. I just want to see them compete,” says Golden. “We’ll let them compete for the next 140 days and see who’s going to start.” 

“I think the coaching staff’s going to make a decision best for the team,” says former Cane quarterback Ken Dorsey, “and you can’t really lose with any of these guys.” 

The team’s defensive ends were strong while Sean Spence and Ray Ray Armstrong highlighted the day’s action behind them. Spence had an interception return for a touchdown that resulted in a bench clearing celebration at the field goal post that he deemed similar to that in the Florida-Georgia game in 2007. 

Reggie Wayne chats it up with fans after Saturdays Spring Game while Tapout gets free product placement.

 

Questions still remain on what the Canes will do at cornerback after losing seniors Demarcus Van Dyke and Ryan Hill and junior Brandon Harris, who decided to forego his senior year to enter the NFL draft. 

“You can’t replace those guys,” says Spence, “but I think guys are doing a great job of stepping up, taking ownership and playing their role.” 

Over a hundred football alumni filed onto the sidelines to watch their alma mater’s scrimmage. 

“It’s a special group,” says Golden, “that’s a family.” 

Thirty-three members of the 2001 Hurricanes, who brought Miami its fifth national championship in football, were honored at halftime. 

“It kind of makes me feel old,” says former Cane great and all-pro Minnesota Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie. 

The next game Cane fans can look forward to will kick-off the regular season in a Labor Day showdown in Maryland that will be aired on ESPN.

“We just have to beat up on each other during the offseason and make each other better,” says Lamar Miller.

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